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Carnivore - 1985 Carnivore


ARTIST: Carnivore
ALBUM: Carnivore
LABEL: Roadrunner
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: Reissue List


LINEUP: Lord Petrus Steele - vocals, bass * Keith Alexander - bass * Louis Beateaux - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Predator * 02 Carnivore * 03 Male Supremacy * 04 Armageddon * 05 Legion Of Doom * 06 God Is Dead * 07 Thermonuclear Warrior * 08 World Wars III And IV

Before the late Peter Steele made his mark with Type O Negative in the 90's, he led the formidable thrash outfit Carnivore, who released two influential albums in the 80's. Their debut is definitely the more accessible of the two, with a traditional thrash sound that easily rivals the best of the era. In fact by 1985 standards this packs more of a punch than the likes of Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax in my opinion, both musically and visually. Steele of course was a monster of a man, standing 6'8, giving the band an imposing presence. Carnivore adopted a post nuclear-apocalyptic theme to their music and image, hardly an original concept among 80's thrash bands, but one taken to the extreme here. This is evident in the stage names adopted by the band, and the lyrics, which are fairly extreme for the time. But it's the thrash which really steals the show, brutal and abrasive by all means, state of the art for 1985.

The Songs
If you can imagine a combination of Motorhead, Savatage, Venom and Rogue Male, you'll have a good grasp of Carnivore's overall approach to heavy metal. Steele's exaggerated vocal delivery takes on the guise of a warlord rampaging through the nuclear wasteland, dominating and crude. Every track has its own identity, opener 'Predator' a good introduction to their sound, the galloping riffs and double-bass drumming the stuff thrash legends are made of. The title track concerns some rabid beast devouring women in descriptive detail, the thrash intensity way up there. 'Male Supremacy' goes for broke, a track which would be outlawed by the more sensitive types among us today, the title telling the story. 'Legion Of Doom' is just as ferocious, telling the story of a group of bikers terrorizing society. This makes Manowar look as heavy as Duran Duran. 'Thermonuclear Warrior' is total thrash abandon, as satisfying as the genre ever got. The ten minute epic 'World Wars III and IV' is another classic, so compelling in its bleak outlook of earth after a nuclear war, that I almost thought it was real. Pummeling from the beginning to the end, this is the sound of madmen, surely.

In Summary
For many observers this was the best thing Steele ever did. 1987's 'Retaliation' was also effective, but pursued more of a crossover direction, in league with the likes of Cro-Mags or Agnostic Front during their metal years. For the thrash purist however, it's impossible to ignore this debut. It's rightfully gone down as a milestone of the genre and still stands heads and shoulders above most pretenders to this day.

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#1 | dtabachn on March 01 2018 02:40:52
I liked Type O Negative back in the 1990s. Haven't heard Carnivore up until now. Time to investigate based on the review Thumbs Up.

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